Theater History Symposium

The 39th Annual Mid-America Theatre Conference

Hyatt Regency Milwaukee  ~~  March 15-18, 2018


Theatre History Symposium—Call For Papers

Click this link for a downloadable PDF of the CFP:  MATC Theatre History 2018 CFP

In “Geographies of Learning: Theatre Studies, Performance, and the ‘Performative,’” Jill Dolan argues that feminist scholars and activists negotiate their position with “a gesture toward placing oneself within a critique of objectivity, but at the same time stopping the spin of poststructuralist or postmodernist instabilities long enough to advance a politically effective action.” In other words, in order to spin— our actions, our stories, our selves— we have to stop the spin long enough to respond and be heard. This year’s Theatre History Symposium asks participants to engage MATC 2018’s conference theme of “spin” by reflecting on both our relationship to “the spin” and our obligation to spin the material of theatre history, the material conditions of our work, and the movement of our methodologies. In what ways is our work as historians, teachers, practitioners, and scholars linked to processes of spinning, weaving, or spiraling? How do we as scholars negotiate the oscillations between the stasis and stillness of ourselves and our subjects? How is “spin” as propaganda, bias, public relations tactic, or political strategy imbricated in the sites of study the theatre historian engages? How might reflecting on our work as spin or as spinning shift our research methodologies? And in what ways does spin allow us to reconsider how theatre spins history? How history spins theatre?

The Theatre History Symposium invites participants to consider also the ways our sites of study reverberate within other fields such as sound, dance, politics, philosophy, folklore, and media studies. We welcome proposals that offer clear arguments that engage the provocative theme of “spin,” and we encourage work with a diversity of sites, research methodologies, theoretical engagement, and writing or presentation styles.

We are excited to announce that Dr. Esther Kim Lee will serve as this year’s Theatre History Symposium Respondent.

Please submit proposals via email in Word or PDF Format to and include the following:

  • Your name, title (graduate student, faculty rank, independent scholar), academic affiliation (if applicable), and a brief biography.
  • Your contact information (particularly email).
  • The title and abstract for your paper. Please limit abstracts to 250 words.
  • Any audiovisual elements requested for your presentation. We cannot guarantee audiovisual support but will take requests into account when scheduling. Late requests may not be honored.
  • We also welcome proposals for full panels. Contact the co-chairs for more information.

Theatre History Symposium Co-Chairs:

Chandra Owenby Hopkins, PhD

Converse College

Shannon Walsh, PhD

Louisiana State University


All proposals must be received by October 15, 2017

Robert A. Schanke Award

The Robert A. Schanke Research Award is given annually to an untenured faculty presenter of the Theatre History Symposium and carries a cash award of $500 as well as consideration of publication of the paper in Theatre History Studies, the journal of the Mid-America Theatre Conference. Submissions will be evaluated based on rigor of research, clarity of writing, relevance and contribution to the field, and publishability. To be eligible for the Robert A. Schanke Award, candidates must submit full, conference-length versions of their paper by February 19, 2018 to both Symposium Co-Chairs (above).